How 'Safety Blitzes' Help Test Bus Operators for Compliance

Posted on August 13, 2014 by Louie Maiello - Also by this author

This month, in our continuing coverage of bus operator training tips, we will cover the topic of safety blitzes.

What exactly is a safety blitz?

Think of a safety blitz as seeking confirmation that bus operators are in compliance, or non-compliant, with your standard operating procedures during an unannounced "spot check" of a specific skill set. A blitz may also be initiated in response to a sudden spike in unsafe actions being reported, observed or indicated by video review.

Why a safety blitz?

The goal is to gain an accurate account of what’s going on in your system.

There are several reasons you might want to consider initiating a “blitz.” Let's take a quick look:

  • Customer complaints regarding operator’s use of cell phone while operating their bus.
  • Operators have been observed using one hand to steer the bus.
  • Operators failing to utilize their directional signals when entering a bus stop.
  • Operators accelerating to cross intersection during yellow and red signal conditions.
  • To establish that an "unannounced randomly selected" blitz can occur at any given time.
  • To ensure that any unsafe act will not go unnoticed by management. 
  • To acknowledge and recognize those operators that continue to demonstrate safe consistent operation of their bus on a daily basis.

How can a safety blitz be implemented?

  • Select the skill set to be observed for compliance.
  • Identify the locations to position personnel to gather your information.
  • Set a start and finish time.
  • Agree on what verbal corrective action/remedy will be utilized for operators found to be non-compliant.
  • Schedule a follow up blitz
  • Provide incentives for compliant operators

When should it be conducted?

  • Randomly, to see whether compliance is the standard operating procedure.
  • During the probationary period of an operator in addition to onboard observation rides.
  • After a spike in a particular collision or complaint.

Who will conduct the blitz?

  • Supervisory-level personnel, preferably training department personnel.
  • In cases where training dept. personnel and safety dept. personnel are on the same page with standard operating procedures — and this should always be the case — it can be a joint training and safety effort.

RELATED: How to know when your trainees are ready to roll

I mentioned incentives for those operators found to be compliant during the "safety blitz." I knew of an agency that would provide patches, pens, lapel pins, hats, etc., to those individuals that were observed doing their jobs to the agency’s standards.

It would work like this: let’s say the blitz focused on the proper use of directionals entering a bus stop. An operator that was observed to be compliant in this particular skill would first be approached by the person conducting the blitz and made aware of his/her good actions. The operator would be given a ticket stub to turn in to supervision at the end of their tour. Upon turning in the stub they would be given the predetermined item selected as a reward during that particular blitz.

This is easy to implement, you can be creative as you want and most importantly unsafe behavior is quickly identified and can be dealt with in a constructive manner that will protect the operator, the agency and your loyal customers.

In case you missed it...

Read our previous blog, "How to Maximize Peak Performance from Your New Transit Maintenance Facility"

View comments or post a comment on this story. (2 Comments)

More Safety Corner Blog Posts

February 25, 2015

Transit Emergency: What Can You Do to Stay Safe?

Recent national incidents have put increased attention on safe commuting and what passengers can do to protect themselves during a transit emergency. “The most important tip anyone can follow is to wait for the instructions of the crew,” said Scott Sauer, chief system safety officer for SEPTA. “Crews know the equipment best and have been trained to safely remove passengers from vehicles should the situation warrant evacuation...

February 4, 2015

Simple, Effective Measures to Reduce Bus Collisions at Your Agency

Are you getting frustrated because — in spite of what you’re doing — collisions are not dropping at your agency? With just a few tweaks, you can make a difference. If you are a chief training officer, training director, instructor or equivalent at your agency, then this message is for you.

January 15, 2015

How to Develop an Extreme Defensive Driving Program

I may be all alone on this one, but I discovered that my kids (who were not allowed to play “shooter” video games) developed a distinct style of driving (and a lot of unsafe habits) while playing their video driving games as pre-teens and young teenagers. In fact, I wound up spending a great deal of my time trying to undo these habits and deep set tendencies while my boys still had their learner's permits.

January 5, 2015

When Does Technology on Buses Become the Problem?

Technology was not in my vocabulary as a kid, but now it's at the front of the line. I’m not saying I’m against it, but could we step back a moment and catch our breath when it comes to technology and bus operations? It seems what used to be a fairly unobstructed view of the road ahead, and to the sides of the bus using simple dashboards and adequately sized mirrors, now appears to resemble a cockpit of the world’s most sophisticated aircraft.

December 22, 2014

Rail safety leader 'honored to be honored'

Congratulations to METRO Magazine on celebrating its 110th year of serving the rail and transit industry! I was excited and, frankly, stunned to learn that I was named one of METRO’s 20 “Most Influential People of the Decade” as part of the magazine’s observance of this milestone. Being included in the company of these well-known and respected transportation professionals and policymakers is a rewarding and humbling experience, and underscores the benefits of working together to further improve the safety and efficiency of public transportation.

See More

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (2)

Please sign in or register to .    Close